Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tooby ooby walla, Nooby abba nabba...

...Early morning singin' song.

Good Morning, Starshines! The Earth (and the Baroness) says hello.

For those of you who have no freakin' clue whatsoever as to what I am babbling on about, it's part of a song from the late 60's, from a little musical called "Hair"; sung by a dude called Oliver (who bravely paved the way for one-named singers everywhere).

Thanks to Montgomery Burns of Simpsons fame (who sang it while tripping out on something) and many cover versions recently abounding, the tune is having a bit of a resurgence, with a whole new generation grooving on it. For that, I am very happy.

The song, which I have deep nostalgic affection for, is the center point of today's chitty-chat. Today's story has all the elements of a epic novel - the oppressed, idealism, the struggle to unite generations, confusion, resolution, and a bang-up musical number.

The year - 1968. A time of liberation, of freedom, of personal expression. The place - a surburban elementary school, thousands of miles away from Haight-Ashbury, free love, the Peace Movement. You - a Grade 2 elementary school teacher.

You're struggling around for a song that your class can sing for the upcoming year-end concert. The concert where not just the students will attend, but also their parents and family. This can't be just any old song - the time is now, babe - and the pressure is on to Make. A. Statement. It's got to somehow encapsulate all that has happened in the world in the past year. It's got to put its finger on the pulse of that groundswell that's sure to happen here eventually, that cultural revolution. It's got to show where we, as a society, are going. It's got to be meaningful, relevant, happening, man.

It's got to be "Good Morning, Starshine".

When the dear Ms. Grey first told us that we would be singing this song, there were more than a few giggles in the classroom. I mean, really - what grown adult in their right mind writes lyrics like this:
Glibby gloop gloopy, Nibby Nabby Noopy, La, La, La, Lo, Lo
Sabba sibby sabba nooby abba nabba Le Le Lo Lo
But I've got to tell you, once we started actually singing those whack-a-doodle lyrics, we found out they were magical. They tickled our tongues and our funny bones.

It did not take long for us all to become hooked (yeah, kids - the first one's free...). Soon we were practising the song everywhere. Recess. Lunchtime. Playground. Home.

It is at this point where the struggle to unite generations began. I think it warrants mentioning at this point that my parents were not plebeian idiots, devoid of any culture. They owned a vast and varied record collection. They both loved clever, wry, well-written, classic music. Their music.

As I was singing around the house one day, I was stopped by my mom . My non-Hippy, raised-in-the-country, walked-10-miles-to-school-in-the-snow, 48 year-old mother.

"What exactly are you singing, BvonB?"

Indignantly (because a true artist should not have to defend their masterpiece), I repeated - "Song song song sing, sing sing sing sing song."

Furrowed brow ensued. Danger, Danger, Will Robinson - she's starting to lose patience...

"And what exactly is that nonsense supposed to mean?"

Ugh. Think quickly, BvonB. Think! Plan "A" Defense Mode- blame someone else.

"It's called Good Morning Starshine, and Ms. Grey chose it for us to sing for the end-of-year concert." (this was all said in the span of a second, and as one complete word).


And that was that. She returned to cooking dinner, pleased that her daughter would be singing for the concert, but ultimately uninterested.

I should also point out that their being a fair amount older made them vastly different from my friends' moms and dads. My parents were brought up in a climate of hard work and clear boundaries between parent and child. There were no grey areas, nor was there any room for rebellion or - gasp - revolution. The whole Hippy philosophy was something they believed did not have much merit, and would blow over soon. This was merely a trend that would peter out very soon, once the lure of toil and commerce were discovered by these young hedonistic whipper-snappers.

The evening of the concert. Imagine a small gymnasium, filled with parents who were in their early to mid-twenties. Groovy, hip, with it moms and dads. Then pan over the crowd, an-n-d stop.

Right there. See a couple in their late 40's. Not so groovy. So not hip. Concentrate on them as their daughter gets up with her class to sing their song. Move to the class starting off. Now back to the vonB parents. Looking at each other, proud of their little girl.

Pan over the crowd again. See most of the parents, acknowledging the cleverness of Ms. Grey; amused by the choice and by their children's obvious love of the song. They are digging it, baby.

Back to the children, being led by a fervent Ms. Grey:
Tooby ooby walla Nooby abba nabba
Early mornin' singin' song
Now back to the vonB parents again. Agape. What did they say?

So not ready to love a song, laugh a song, nor sing a song.

Look at Ms. Grey, triumphant - bringing the au courant to the burbs. Look at the kids, boppin' and beaming. And la la la la lo lo'ing.

Thank you for trying, Ms. Grey. You twinkle above us. And we were definitely twinkling below.


The Queen said...

Your Royal Baroness von Bloggenschtern....
I want to thank you for the lovely tune that has taken over my brain since reading your thots today...The song going through my head is..."You are my sunshine my only sunshine...you make me happy when skies are gray..." To the point as I was in the back of my "office" working on a patient I was singing that song outloud. It did put a smile on his face...So thank you...from the both of us.
I know it's not the song you did for school..but apprently I am very impressionable.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Anything that I can do to put a smile on someone's face is undoubtedly my pleasure, my dear.

We royals have got to stick together!

Candy said...

What an awesome story.

Just last week, someone sang this song to me in our small work kitchenette. I was plagued by it throughout the day. I fear a repeat of same.

I always think of Bob from Sesame Street when I think of this song. But I think I have the wrong song there...not sure.

Anyway, thanks for a trip down memory lane.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess Candy: Ooh, dear. You're not the first to liken this song to some sort of brain virus.

I'll have to traipse over to YouTube to check out if they have a clip of Bob. (little known fact #71 - I'm a Bob stalker. Sshhhhhhhh).

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Great story, Baroness. I love the descriptions. I can totally visualize this in my head. Thanks for sharing such a cool moment.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess NATUI: Thanks, sweetness!

Although I think you can visualize in your head because you're still tripping on carbon monoxide a little.

Tell me what else you see... :)

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